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SYFY WIRE comic previews

Wander back to Westeros in Dynamite Comics' bold new A Clash of Kings #1

By Jeff Spry
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Even though HBO's Game of Thrones ended with an epic crescendo this past May, we still long for the sensation of the Seven Kingdoms in our lives after being immersed in that magical realm's wonder and wickedness for eight satisfying years.

Until George R. R. Martin finishes the upcoming The Winds of Winter novel and the planned House of the Dragon prequel series arrives over the next decade, the next best thing to getting your "Game" on is Dynamite's new comic book adaptation of the second book in Martin's fantasy saga, A Clash of Kings — and SYFY WIRE has a sneak peek at January's premiere issue.

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Dynamite previously dipped into the Game of Thrones dimension with its 16-issue trek past the first half of A Clash of Kings, and now after a 9-month hiatus they're relaunching the title. Again written by Landry Q. Walker, the revival showcases art from Mel Rubi (Doctor Strange), colors by Ivan Nunes (Game of Thrones), and letters via Tom Napolitano (Justice League).

The stimulating story picks up midway through Martin’s acclaimed 1998 novel, with Sansa suffering from the sadistic King Joffrey, Catelyn Stark and Brienne of Tarth on the lam, King Renly Baratheon mysteriously murdered, Arya Stark imprisoned at Harrenhal, and Tyrion Lannister scheming in the dark halls of King’s Landing.

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Walker realizes that stepping into the richly detailed world of A Song of Ice and Fire as a reader is a well-known experience, but reaching into this text to adapt is like reading the book on steroids.

"Every paragraph, every sentence is potentially precious," Walker tells SYFY WIRE. "So you can’t just look at a line of dialogue and slash it from the comic script because it’s placed at an inconvenient moment. You have to weigh it against all other bits of dialogue and be certain you’re not pulling away the thread that weaves together six other scenes.

"We have a very experienced team all working in tandem to execute each 21-page issue. Mel Rubi carries the lion’s share of the work, having to meticulously recreate the world that George built freely in text into a visual form. Mel builds this world over and over and over, in almost 150 separate, hand-drawn images per issue. Ivan Nunes and Tom Napolitano take over from there, with colors and letters that are more demanding than any other book I have ever been involved with. And of course, Anne Groell, who has overseen the editorial process of the book series since practically the first volume of the epic novel series was published."

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The ultimate goal for Walker and his creative crew is to create a visual adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece that adheres as closely to the original vision of the novels as possible.

"A pure adaptation, that only veers from the source when either the physical limitations of the medium give us no other option, or differences between a visual narrative and prose require a different touch," he concludes. "It’s a unique experience to write, and I hope a unique one to read as well."

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Now raise a hearty cheer and experience our exclusive look at Dynamite Comics' A Clash of Kings #1, with variant covers by Mike Miller, Stephen Segovia, and Butch Guice in the full gallery below, then sound the alarm in the comment section on your reactions to this lush and loving adaptation arriving on Jan. 29, 2020.